west London MP has backed a campaign to move a “monster” 5G mast after a revolt by furious residents who say their lives have been blighted.
A 20 metre (65ft) mast has been built on a playing field next to the garden fences of families in Boston Manor. Hounslow Council approved the controversial application despite opposition from locals whose back gardens are now overshadowed by the structure.
Neighbouring Council Ealing also stated that it thought the mast, built by telecoms contractor MBNL to provide signal for phone companies Three and EE, could be sited further away from residents when it responded to a consultation.
The residents in the leafy suburb have complained that children are now fearful of playing in their gardens with the grey mast looming over them. Meanwhile light is blocked and the “ugly” structure is an eyesore and has devalued properties, locals claim.
They also say the consultation was carried out during the covid pandemic and some families did not receive papers on the proposal from the council. A petition with almost 450 names against the mast has been collected since May.
MP for Brentford and Isleworth Ruth Cadbury, who is also shadow minister for Internation trade, has demanded that the mast operators move it away from the garden fences of the houses affected on Boston Manor Gardens.
She said: “I have asked the operators if the mast could be moves slightly so it is not right up against the residents’ fences. I can’t believe it wouldn’t still work effectively by being moved a short distance along the playing field balcony.”
A spokeswoman for Hounslow Council said because of planning law it could not comment on the case but insisted that all relevant residents had been consulted on the application.
But some claim they were not contacted while no trees have been planted to camouflage the ugly structure. Resident Debra Oliver said: “The first thing I knew about the monster mast was when I was alerted to it by a neighbour in May. I do not recall receiving a notification letter and neither do my neighbours.
“We all would have vociferously opposed it. A petition was started and within a couple had 446 signatures which, in my opinion, makes a mockery of the consultation process that was purported to have been carried out in 2020.”
Another whose house backs on to the mast Adrian O’Gara said: “It’s a shocking sight to see a mast a couple of metres from someone’s back garden especially when they previously had acres of green fields before the ugly mast was put up. Even more shocking when I know they can make them look like real trees but they didn’t even make this offer.”
Jim O’Hare said: “It’s so close to our house. We hadn’t received any information about it from the council or the developers. It’s been emotionally exhausting for us trying to find out what is happening and whether it will impact our son’s medical equipment or not.“Now it’s up it stands completely unscreened in the middle of our view. All they would need to do is to plant some trees to reduce the impact. But no one seems willing to help.”
Another family told the Standard: “We have young children and this new mast, being directly behind our house towers over them when they are playing in the garden and completely ruins our outlook. It is the only metallic structure in the area and is out of place. It feels like the only convenience of the phone companies’ have been taken into account and no thought given to those of us who have to live with it looming over us every day. There are plenty of locations nearby where it would be less obtrusive.”
A statement from MBNL said that the company was open to working with residents to come to a compromise.
It said: “The site at Boston Manor playing fields was required to replace our site at Boundary House. We were required to relocate our services due to planned redevelopment works taking place at Boundary House and we were given our legal notice to vacate the building.
“When determining a location finding the right balance between delivering the service and capacity which customers want and expect alongside planning regulations and aesthetic expectations is never easy.“We will, asalways, continue to work closely with the local planning authority, locally elected members and residents and we will give all comments and feedback careful consideration. Our aim is for the community to enjoy high quality and reliable mobile connectivity and the benefits that it brings.”